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The non-partisan study of 
the problems presented 
by the British Empire. 

How the Movement began. 
What it hopes to accomplish. 

Officbs: 84 ST. MARY ST., TORONTO. 


Queen's University at Kingston 


G. W. Allan, K.C Winnipeg, Man. 

G. F. Beer Toronto, Ont. 

Major O. M. Biggar Edmonton, Alta. 

G. S. Campbell Halifax, N.S. 

W. F. Chipman, K.C Montreal, Que. 

Professor Charles W. Colby, Montreal, Que. 

Hume Cronyn London, Ont. 

Huntley R. Drummond Montreal, Que. 

T. H. Estabrooks St. John, N.B. 

R. A. Falconer, C.M.G., LL.D., Toronto, Ont. 

A. J. Glazebrook Toronto, Ont. 

H. V. F. Jones Toronto, Ont. 

Lt.-Col. R. W. Leonard St. Catharines, Ont. 

J. F. MacKay Toronto, Ont. 

Lt.-Col. Vincent Massey Toronto, Ont. 

G. R Marnoch Lethbridge, Alta. 

Professor W. S. Milner Toronto, Ont. 

W. C. Murray, LL.D Saskatoon, Sask. 

R. Neilson Montreal, Que. 

Lt.-Col. H. C. Osborne Toronto, Ont. 

G. F. Scott Vancouver, B.C. 

H. D. Scully Toronto, Ont. 

F. R. Taylor, K.C St. John, N.B. 

Sir Charles Hibbert Tupper, 

K.C.M.G Vancouver, B.C. 

Sir Edmund Walker, C.V.O. . .Toronto, Ont. 

G. A. Warburton Toronto, Ont. 

Sir John Willison Toronto, Ont. 

Professor G. M. Wrong Toronto, Ont. 

All correspondence to be addressed to : 

The Secretary, The Round Table, 8If St. Mary St., Toronto, 


The men who comprised the original Cana- 
dian Bound Table Groups held various 
views concerning the relation of Canada 
to the Empire, including the belief that 
national independence was the natural fu- 
ture of Canada. After six years of study, 
it is safe to say that the Groups now include 
no one who does not believe in maintaining 
in some form our Imperial connection. It 
must be remembered, however, that the 
organization is a movement to encourage 
study and that its students have reached 
different stages in their enquiry. Whatever 
propaganda members of The Round Table 
may be connected with as individuals, the 
movement itself must stand for nothing but 
the general principles which it has been 
thought wise to adopt as our own and to 
outline in the first chapter of this pamphlet. 


The Round Table movement is an invitation to 
thoughtful men and women everywhere to join in 
the study of the meaning of the Empire and of the 
problems presented by it. It is not committed to any 
particular form of Imperial reconstruction, but it is 
committed to the cultivation of the fundamental idea 
that some system of Imperial union is a necessity. 

The movement is represented by Groups of people 
formed first in the Dominions and afterwards in 
Great Britain, who believe that the British Empire 
shows a continuous development, that it is in. a trans- 
itional stage, and that in its present form it pre- 
sents a Problem. The voluntary co-operation of 
such Groups for investigation and study is a method 
which will appeal to everyone. The aim of these 
circles is simple and straightforward — the creation 
of a basis of popular education for the support of 
the statesmen to whom we entrust the handling of 
our future. 

It is by no means necessary that the men and 
women comprising the Groups should have the same 
experience or the same training. They will have no 
difficulty in agreeing, in any case, upon the following 
general principles, which will provide a common 
starting point for the enquiry: 

1. That Canada has shown her determination to 
preserve and strengthen the ties which now bind 
her to Great Britain and other portions of the 
British Commonwealth. 

2. That effective organization of the Empire must 
not involve any sacrifice of responsible govern- 
ment in domestic affairs or the surrender of 
control over fiscal policy by any portion of the 

3. That it is an inevitable development of respon- 
sible government in the Dominions that they 
should assume their proportionate share in the 
defence of the Empire, and shpuld have a voice 
in determining its relations with other States. 

4. That as soon as circumstances permit, political 
leaders throughout the Empire, irrespective of 
party, should meet to consider the problem. 

The question of our national position is more 
urgent than ever. As one Canadian statesman has 
finely said, the War "has deepened our sense of 
destiny. We have swung out into the full current 
of the world's life: and whether we view with satis- 
faction or with apprehension the situation in which 
we find ourselves we can never retrace our steps. 
Let us face the future with courage and faith." 



The system of Bound Table Groups as they are 
known at present was developed in this country, but 
the conception of a systematic research into the na- 
ture of the British Empire which characterizes the 
Movement had its origin in South Africa. The en- 
quiry grew out of the conversations of a group of 
men who played an active part in the organization of 
South Africa after the War. Their concern with the 
affairs of that Dominion soon grew into a careful 
study of the Imperial problem as a whole, and the 
character of these men, and their experience in prac- 
tical politics, gave a note of seriousness to their ef- 
forts. In 1910 a collection of notes on the government 
of the Empire was made by these students of the 
question and printed for private circulation through- 
out Great Britain and the Dominions, under the name 
of the ' l Green Memorandum. ' ' This volume was sub- 
jected to private criticism in every part of the Em- 
pire and was then reissued with a mass of annota- 
tions attached. It w T as followed by numerous docu- 
ments, all part of the same research, which were 
submitted to small circles of men in the Dominions 
who were asked to aid in The Round Table enquiry 
by criticizing these reports and giving their opinions 
on various phases of the Imperial problem. These 
circles were the original Round Table Groups. 

Such opinions and criticisms as these were never 
officially published by The Round Table. Owing to 
the various opinions represented in the Groups such 
a course was impossible. One theory of the Empire 
held in whole or in part by certain members of The 
Round Table Groups has been admirably expressed 
in a book, "The Problem of the Commonwealth," 
published by Mr. Lionel Curtis, not as the General 
Secretary of The Round Table but solely on his own 
responsibility. This represents the personal opin- 

is of one student of Imperial problems, and inas- 
much as it goes into considerable detail, it is unlikely 
that others will be in complete agreement with it. 

We are more immediately concerned with a second 
phase in the development of The Round Table pro- 
per. In 1911, mainly through the efforts of the late 
Mr. Edward Kylie, Groups of men were formed in 
Canada to study their country's relation to the 
Empire and to the outside world. In these circles 
the general question of our external politics was 
treated, and any literature which bore on this broad 
question was made the subject of study. The work 
of the new Groups was, therefore, not confined to 
The Round Table reports alone, although, as they 
comprised the most comprehensive study of the 
British Empire in existence, their importance was 
not overlooked. 

With the War, The Round Table Groups in Can- 
ada can be said to have arrived at a third stage in 
their development. We have seen since August 4, 
1914, that the Empire is a reality; but we have also 
been shown that its development has not reached 
finality. Whatever may be our opinions as to the 
ultimate solution of the problem it is now possible 
for its students to base their assumptions on such 
broad principles as are laid down in Chapter I. 

The Round Table Groups, formed originally to 
study our relations with the British Empire, are 
now of greater importance than ever. As in every 
national crisis, if we are to be saved from the in- 
evitable political catchword it will be because respon- 
sible Canadians have so informed themselves as to 
produce an educated opinion on the question at issue. 
Our self -education towards this end is therefore of 
profound importance. Not even the great task of 
developing our natural resources should obscure 
from us the necessity of understanding our position 
in the world at large — political as well as economic. 

It may, of course, be argued that this is a time for 
deeds and not for words, that the German monster 
must be laid low before we can debate the academic 
question of Imperial organization. The answer to 
this is two-fold: first, that the question is not aca- 
demic but sternly practical ; and secondly, that those 
who cannot fight have a duty to perform in behalf 
of their fellow-countrymen overseas. On those of 
us who are left behind is laid the responsibility of 
determining, each for himself, what is the true status 
and what should be the destiny of this country. 
The Bound Table Groups have been founded and 
are now being increased in number for the pur- 
pose of providing the means of study and dis- 
cussion which are necessary to such an end. The 
work of these Groups, by reason of their non-par- 
tisan composition, is in the nature of a free enquiry. 
Whatever may be the conclusions of their members, 
their study will have accomplished much; for an 
informed public opinion is the best guarantee that 
Canada's future will be guided by sober judgment, 
and that her soldiers will not have fought vainly. 



The work of The Round Table Groups up to the 
present might be described as a great co-operative 
analysis. It should go on to a serious and open- 
minded examination of the results. 

The joint study of the Groups during the six years 
which have elapsed since their formation is contained 
in a series of reports sent out for criticism to these 
various study circles throughout the Dominion, and 
in a collation of this criticism which was again dis- 
tributed to the Groups. Briefly, it may be said that 
this co-operative study detached four lines of pos- 
sible Imperial policy: 

1. It may be contended that the present status 
of the Dominions, with all its manifold anomalies 
and acknowledged defects, should nevertheless be 
left undisturbed. 

2. It may be argued that the Dominions should 
take their future into their own hands and assume 
the position of independent states ; or, in our own 
case, ask admission into the United States. 

3. The time may have arrived when the Domin- 
ions should severally take over the control of their 
foreign policy, and co-operate to the extent to 
which they may on each occasion see fit. 

4. Finally, some would argue that the principle 
of confederation, which has successively created 
the great Dominions, should now be extended to 
the Empire in so far as the questions of peace and 
war and foreign policy are concerned. 

Whether the government of the dependencies can 
be detached from the control of the questions of 
peace and war constitutes another question of great 


The third alternative may be characterized as ? 
policy of voluntary co-operation. It is to be noted 
that an alliance for defence, which the Groups have 
rarely considered, would differ from this in being 
voluntary only in its inception. It would operate 
automatically when the necessity for action arose. 

In short, The Round Table movement aims to 
awaken a spirit of thoughtful consideration and 
candid, clear and persistent thinking on matters 
which every British citizen should have deeply at 
heart. It is the deliberate opinion of the Canadian 
Council of The Round Table movement that the 
question of the relation of the different Overseas Do- 
minions to the Empire as a whole is rapidly becoming 
an exceedingly practical question, and that Canada 
will be obliged to express her opinion with respect 
to this matter within a very short time after the con- 
clusion of the war. 

For this reason the Council earnestly hopes that 
Round Table Groups may be formed in all parts of 
the Dominion, in order that public sentiment may 
become intelligent and Canadians be prepared, when- 
ever the time for action comes, to take their full 
part in adapting the organization of the Empire to 
the tasks with which it will then be confronted. 



The first number of The Round Table quarterly- 
was published in November, 1910. It was founded 
by a group of men who had undergone a memorable 
experience in South Africa at a great crisis in the 
history of the British Empire, and the purpose with 
which it was started has been steadily maintained. 
This purpose was, and is, to provide a continuous 
record, unspoiled by the influence of local party dif- 
ferences, of the larger affairs of the Empire as a 
whole, and of each of its great Dominions and 

All those associated with the conduct of The Eound 
Table have had this conviction in their hearts : name- 
ly, that there is a vital unity in this Commonwealth 
composed of a quarter of the human race ; that the 
world is undergoing changes under which a continu- 
ance of the Empire's unity may demand reconstruc- 
tion of its internal relations ; that its preservation is 
of vital interest to all its parts, and to the peace and 
happiness of the world ; and, finally, that under these 
circumstances the best service that can be rendered 
to the Empire is to provide reliable and non-partisan 
information of events and opinions within the Em- 
pire and in the world at large, so far as they mutually 
affect each other. And this is what The Round Table 
quarterly is doing. 


Anyone who wishes either 
to join or to form a Round 
Table Group is invited to 
communicate with the 
Secretary, The Round Table, 
84 St. Mary St., Toronto, who 
will furnish all necessary in- 



I. What is The Round Table ? 

II. The Origin of The Round Table. 

III. The Round Table Position. 

IV. The Round Table Quarterly.